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Amarnath Yatra begins: over 1,000 pilgrims left Jammu on Wednesday for the shrine

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Jammu: Over 1,000 pilgrims of the first batch of this year’s annual Amarnath Yatra left Jammu on Wednesday for the high-altitude cave shrine in Kashmir Valley.

State Health Minister Chowdhary Lal Singh flagged off a convoy of 34 vehicles carrying 1,280 pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here towards the valley.

This year’s yatra to the 14,500 ft. high Himalayan cave shrine, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, is spread over 59 days. It will begin on Thursday.

Pilgrims use the south Kashmir Pahalgam and the north Kashmir Baltal routes to reach the cave shrine.

Two base camps – one at Baltal and the other at Nunwan (Pahalgam) – have been set up from where the pilgrims will begin an uphill mountain trek to reach the cave.

The shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. Devotees believe the ice stalagmite structure called the ‘Lingam’ symbolizes mythical powers of Lord Shiva.

A three-tier security drawn from the army, the central paramilitary forces and the state police have been deployed to guard the yatra, which has been attacked by separatist guerrillas in the past. (IANS)

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President Ram Nath Kovind Pays His Condolences to Former UN Chief Kofi Annan

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world".

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India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death.
India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death. Flickr

India on Saturday condoled the death of former UN Secretary General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan with President Ram Nath Kovind expressing his condolences to the former Ghanaian diplomat’s family and the UN community as a whole.

“Sorry to learn of the passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan,” Kovind said on the Rashtrapati Bhavan Twitter handle.

“My condolences to his family and to the UN community,” he stated.

Annan, 80, died on Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that the former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” his family said.

Kofi Annan
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. Flickr

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He also led a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi supported Annan’s recommendations on the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State.

Also Read: New AI Model to Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Indians

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.

His tenure as the UN chief coincided with the Iraq war and the HIV/Aids pandemic. (IANS)

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